photo by Sheri Dixon

Saturday, February 26, 2011

We Need a Bigger Shelter

Lets get this out of the way straight off- I'm not a Conservative Republican. I'm not a practicing Christian, and I throw up a little in my mouth if I'm even in the same building as a TV with Glenn Beck on it.

Back in November, I was busy getting a house built, then it was the holidays, and moving in, and 2 count them 2 trips to Houston for scans and appointments and whatnot, then we lost internet connection for over a month, so I really haven't had a chance to properly verbalize how the mid-term elections felt to me, and what I've been feeling ever since.

Just in case anyone has the illusion that I look at the world through rose colored hippiechick glasses and think life is filled with Hallmark moments, let me assure you that when I make the analogy that the last election felt like the swinging pendulum of an abusive relationship, I know whereof I speak.

I've been there. I've been told what an awful wife, mother, money handler, lover, and person I was and how useless I was. I've been frightened, threatened, had a gun held to my head and hid many many bruises.

I've walked on eggshells and tried so very hard to be good. Good enough. Good enough to be loved and to save the marriage. Good enough to be allowed to live.

Eventually I became sick. Sick with fear and trepidation. I'd go to work and function competently and professionally all day, then get into my car and start shaking so hard it was an effort to get the key into the ignition. All the way home I'd tremble and taste fear.

Because I never knew what The Mood would be when I walked in the door.

One day he left me- told me he couldn't be married to me any more because I was "too intolerant" and I let him go.

Amazingly, the above scenario wasn't played out with one husband but 2. The first one had me believing I was so worthless, I was ripe for the picking by the second, more deadly one.

The first one told me every day that he didn't need me. The second one hated me because he was helpless without me.

From age 20 till 35 my marital life was a living hell.

The psychology of an abusive relationship is tricky- and anyone who says "Why doesn't she just leave?" has no idea. It has nothing to do with weakness of character- in fact the strongest women are the ones who believe they have in their power the ability to make everything better by sheer force of will, and they stay the longest.

I met Ward when I was 35, and he took me in and healed me with kindness, and quiet strength, and love. I was very very lucky.

But I digress.

Here's what I saw, through my marital-abuse-war-torn eyes and heart, during the 2008 elections (because even so many years later, that period of my personal history is still a very real gnawing terror in my soul). The American people were disgruntled and disillusioned. So they changed the guard, went from a Republican held government to a Democratic one. Not a big deal. Happens all the time.

Except. This time the Republicans took it very personally that they were publicly chastised, and it really pissed 'em off.

***Please be clear that I am NOT vilifying a particular party- I'm talking about the individual players here.

So these individuals spent the next 2 years basically sucking up- the flowers, dinner, sweet talking phase- the "Oh Baby, I LOVE you and see the heinous errors of my ways and if you give me one more chance I'll never, ever, ever hurt you again" phase.

So the voters did. They collectively fell for it.

And I trembled and tasted fear.

Before they were sworn back in,the abuse started again- the Tea Party? They'd been used, but did they really expect to be taken seriously?

The voters who were out of work and hurting financially? Oh. Yeah. We can't help you. Sorry.

Why would they do that? Because in an abusive relationship, once you let the abuser back in, there must be a period of punishment. For the victim. To make up for the inconvenience and embarrassment she may have caused.

The government we are seeing in action now is not Of the People For the People By the People, it's a group of small petty men and women (on both sides of the aisle) who have been paid for lock stock and barrel by special interests to keep those special interests safe, not us.

Oh, they try to duck and dodge, and thanks to the internet and corporate money behind them they are managing to keep everyone fired up, suspicious, fearful and hating everyone else- Tea Partiers, liberals, Christians, Muslims, whites, blacks, browns, gays and straights- all being fed the lines that the enemy is, wait, over THERE...this one- this different person, group, religion, culture is the root of your problems...

NOT US- "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain..."

The men and women in power right now are users and abusers, not public servants, and no matter how many flags they wave, babies they kiss, church services they attend or empty promises they make they will never, ever tire of beating us down to make themselves feel bigger.

I love my country. I love its people.

And I don't know where to find a shelter big enough to hold us all till we can stop being afraid, and hating one another needlessly, till we can regain our sanity and breathe long enough to say

"Enough. You must go now, and not come back."

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